The Washtenaw County Bar – It’s Where You Belong

I was confident about the evening as I walked into Casey’s Tavern on a recent Thursday night. My young adult nieces were in town and we were looking for dinner before heading over to the Summer Festival. And the evening was great. I was with loved ones, the menu was just what we wanted, and although I hadn’t been there in over a year, and haven’t been a regular for more than fifteen years, the longtime wait staff greeted me by name and made us feel they were really glad to see us. It’s that whole Cheers bar, Sam, Norm, et al., feeling. It’s a comfortable feeling of belonging.

Many of us know well the opposite feeling when we go to a conference, a reception, or some other event alone. We look around and everyone else seems to fit in and know each other. We wonder whether attending was worth the effort and we question whether we’ll do it again. To combat that feeling in our Bar, this past year our Boardimplemented a practice of having twoBoard members volunteer as hosts at our evening events. Their role is to meet newer members, facilitate mingling and let people know we are glad they came.

If you are a newer WCBA member, or haven’t been to a WCBA event in a while, please keep an eye out for people sporting a host ribbon on their nametag, working the room with enthusiasm; or even just someone with a friendly smile. Maybe it can help to keep in mind that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet, at least according to Will Rogers or William Butler Yeats, take your pick.

Speaking of not having been to an event in a while, this spring twenty-two of our WCBA past presidents laughed and reconnected at the annual meeting and awards dinner. To have so manyof them able to say “yes” to this inauguralpast presidents venture was a wonderful surprise. And the energy, the deep experience, and the rising noise level in the room indicated a new vibe for this traditional event.

The energy and variety of people in the room also confirmed for me the potential support and relationships our Bar holds for everyone. AsI laughed with Ed Pear, President 1979-1980, despite having just met him, it felt like I had known hima long time. Thanks to the WCBA, there is a feeling of common connections, values and belonging.

As a Bar, we want to provide something for all of our members and we know that benefit may be different for each person. This Bar year, keep an eye out for our traditional offerings and a mix of new ones. Summer and early fall activities include the annual golf scramble outing on July 27, the annual WCBA/WLAM tailgate at my house on September 15, and Constitution Day classroom opportunities on September 17.

A few words about the tailgate: you don’t have to be a football fan or going to the game; you don’t have to bring anything; come as you are; come alone or bring people; parking is easy and free; you’ll be gone before traffic is crazy.

I look forward to this Bar year, to catching up with you, learning your name, hearing how the WCBA can help you, and seeing you again, whether it’s once a year or every few weeks.

The Washtenaw County Bar is where you belong.